Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Moseley Braun Hasn't Accounted for Campaign Cash

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Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun has failed to file documentation on how her unsuccessful 2011 mayoral campaign spent $315,000.

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Former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun has failed to file documentation on how her unsuccessful 2011 mayoral campaign spent $315,000.

State officials have twice asked Moseley Braun to detail campaign expenditures, something required by state law. But, according to a top official with the Illinois Board of Elections, Moseley Braun has not yet responded.

"For someone running for mayor, this is probably the worst report I’ve seen," said David Morrison of campaign finance records the Moseley Braun campaign filed in April.

Morrison is deputy director of the non-partisan watchdog group Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

"The basic idea here is that the public has a right to know where the money is coming from and where it is going," he said.

All the other major candidates, Rahm Emanuel, Gery Chico, Miguel del Valle, and Patricia Van Pelt Watkins reported properly and in detail. Emanuel, who spent more than $9 million, itemized 776 expenditures, including purchases at Starbucks.

In her unsuccessful bid, Moseley Braun raised a little more than $323,000 and spent $315,000 campaign documents filed in April show.

The Moseley Braun campaign, in what some see as a violation of state law, only reported money went to a category it called "Vendors Multiple."

"And there's no vendors anywhere in this report," noted Morrison.

Any fault, according to Moseley Braun, lies with her former treasurer, Billie Paige.

"If Billie Paige neglected to (detail those expenses), it doesn't surprise, she is elderly and overwhelmed," Moseley Braun said by phone this week.

The two have been friends for 34 years. Paige introduced -- and embraced -- Moseley Braun on the day she announced for mayor in November 2010.

Paige is a veteran of numerous campaigns and an experienced Springfield lobbyist whose client list includes METRA, AT&T and General Motors. By phone this week, Paige told NBC Chicago she had raised questions herself about the expenditure omissions.

Paige quit the campaign April 15, and in an email statement to NBC Chicago, said she: "notified the appropriate people, including Ambassador Braun," that all expenditures needed to be itemized and reported.

"I only wish the Ambassador well," she wrote in closing.

As Moseley Braun won her history-making Senate seat in 1992, she was plagued by questions about finances. There was a Medicaid issue involving the sale of her mother’s property, followed by a 1998 re-election controversy calling into question whether $280,000 in campaign cash was allegedly spent for clothes, jewelry and trips.

No charges were ever brought and Braun has said consistently that nothing improper occurred.

"I've been absolutely forthcoming all along from the beginning,” Moseley Braun said in 1998.

In regards to the current matter, she said the State Board of Elections hadn't raised any concerns.

But a spokesman for the state election board disputed that, saying two letters were sent to Moseley Braun this summer asking her to provide details on how campaign money was spent. To date, the Board said, no details have been provided.

In response to this report, Moseley Braun said by phone, "There is no there, there.”

David Morrison is not satisfied.

"I have not seen an example worse than this of a committee with this kind of money," Morrison said.

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